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Murder of church custodian sparks fears of Mungiki return

Sunday July 29 2018

Elijah Migwi, Wangige murder

Elijah Migwi was murdered on the evening of July 22, 2018 by unknown people. He was a sanctuary keeper at Blessed Hope Ministries in Wangige, Kiambu County. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GOUP 

JAMES KAHONGEH
By JAMES KAHONGEH
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Last Sunday was a routine day for Elijah Migwi from Wangige in Kiambu County.

That morning, Mr Migwi arrived at Blessed Hope Ministries, where he was the custodian, to prepare for the day’s activities. He then attended a church committee meeting after the service.

Moments after leaving the premises at 7.30pm, Mr Migwi, 50, was accosted by unknown people outside his residence, an apartment building. He was hit several times on the head after which he fell and bled to death. Witnesses say nothing was stolen from him.

DEVOTED SERVANT

Who the killers of Mr Migwi were, and why they killed him in cold blood, is a puzzle that detectives in Kiambu are trying to resolve, even as his family accused police of lethargy in the investigations.

Distraught relatives are yet to come to terms with the sudden death of Mr Migwi, who they described as a humble man who held no grudges against anyone.

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“His wife died in 2010. He has single-handedly raised his three children who were very young when their mother died,” Mr Migwi’s cousin Njenga Muthama told Nation. On Sunday, devastated members of the church, where Mr Migwi worked and fellowshipped for nine years, were trying to comprehend the tragedy. “He has worked as our sanctuary keeper for many years. We have lost a devoted servant, an active church member and a friend,” said Ms Alice Kamau, the church’s secretary.

SERIOUS INJURIES

Results of an autopsy conducted last week on Thursday at City Mortuary showed a badly cracked skull, and other internal head injuries.

According to Dr Peter Ndegwa, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, Mr Migwi may have died as a result of massive bleeding.

The death has evoked dark memories of past and similar murder mysteries in the village. In 2008, Pastor Samwel Njoroge Kihuho of the local Baptist Church was intercepted by unknown men while returning home from a night vigil in the neighbourhood. He was shot and killed for reasons that remain unknown to date.

King’eero (Gikuyu for slaughterhouse) village in Wangige is a neighbourhood with scarcely anything to write home about. It is a haggard-looking and dilapidated village of mild activity. An unnerving eeriness courts the neighbourhood, perhaps a reminder of similar murder incidents that have been committed here over the years. Groups of youth run roughshod on residents, mugging and attacking them even in broad daylight. This has left tens of villagers nursing serious injuries, in dread and with little hope for justice. 

SPINE-CHILLING

According to residents, the village is infamous for spine-chilling murders, reportedly carried out by members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

“Locals do not engage outsiders. Murders are not discussed openly. Sometimes they are not discussed at all. Everyone fears the gang,” a resident told Nation in confidence. Remnants of the illegal gang, he said, operate in the guise of boda boda riders following the government’s crackdown on illegal gangs.

The DCIO in Kabete said they were treating Mr Migwi’s death as a possible murder. Kabete OCPD Joseph Ongaya said they were investigating the incident. So far, no suspect has been arrested.

Even as Mr Migwi’s family prepare to bury him in Limuru on Tuesday, they hope that the killers  will be arrested and charged.